January 3, 2022

The UAE has enacted Federal Law No. 11 of 2021 ("the Law") to govern and defend industrial property rights. The old Patent Law, Law No. 17 of 2002, shall be repealed by this Law. The law covers patents, industrial designs, integrated designs, concealed knowledge, and utility certificates. The Law was published in Official Gazette No. 703 on May 31, 2021, and it is scheduled to take effect when the Executive Regulations are issued in November 2021.

According to an analysis of the Law, the amendments appear to align the UAE's patent law with worldwide patent rules. The most significant change is the addition of a 12-month grace period for invention disclosures before filing, as well as quicker consideration of 'urgent applications.'

Aim of New Industrial Property Law

The new industrial property Law aims to safeguard industrial property and regulate its registration, use, exploitation, and assignment procedures to support knowledge and innovation in the country. It also seeks to improve the state's competitiveness in industrial property rights in line with international best practices.

Applicability of New Industrial Property Law

The new law covers patents, industrial designs, integrated circuits, undisclosed information, and utility certificates filed in the state, including free zones. The implementing regulations haven't been released yet. Once the situation has been resolved, further information will be given. As a result, the existing legislation continues to apply until the implementing rules are issued.

Changes introduced in the Federal Law No. 11 of 2021

The significant changes in the legislation and their ramifications are discussed below:

  1. Criteria for patentability

Article 5 of the Law states that:

"A patent shall be granted for each new invention contrived from a creative idea or creative enhancement, forms an inventive step, and is capable of industrial application,"

The term "letters patent" is no longer used in the law, and "inventive step" is defined. If it is not "axiomatic" (or evident) in the view of the "ordinary artisan" based on state of the art, an invention is said to include an "inventive step."

2. A grace period of 12 months

If the invention is made public, Article 5(4) of the new law provides a 12-month grace period. The grace period applies if the disclosure was made by anybody who learned of the invention from the original inventor, either directly or indirectly. The new regulation doesn't detail the nature of the original inventor's disclosure or if it's restricted to oral or written communication.

3. Expedited examination: 

On the applicants' request, the Ministry may agree to examine some urgent patent or utility certificate applications ahead of others, regardless of the dates of filing such applications or the date of examination request as per Article 14.

Provided that this does not prejudice priority applications following the criteria and conditions outlined in the Executive Regulations.

4. Divisional applications: 

It is a new article that allows the Applicant to submit one or more divisional applications if an original application comprises two or more innovations, as long as the subject matter is within the scope of the original application, as stated in Article 16. The filing date of the divisional application will be the same as the original application's filing date. The Regulations will outline the circumstances.

5. Opposition and Grievances

Article 74 of the new law proposes an intriguing method for determining the validity of patent applications. The article discusses the creation of a grievance committee where third parties can appeal to the issue of a patent. As a result, the party may file an objection with the International Centre for Patent Registry at the Ministry of Justice by providing arguments and paying a fee (ICPR).

6. Industrial design: 

It must be new and not violate public order or morality; according to Article 43, otherwise, it will not be allowed to be used commercially. It is only deemed novel if it has not been made public before the application's filing date, whether by publication, use, or any other way. However, if the design is disclosed to the public within one year of applying, it is not considered to have been exposed to the public.

According to Article 45, the length of protection for an industrial design has been extended to twenty years from the application filing date. In the previous law, the protection period was only ten years. The New Law outlined the requirements for protecting a design more detailed than the previous Law, notably concerning the novelty requirement.

The purpose of this article is to provide a general overview of the subject. Experts like HHS lawyers and legal consultants are specialized in dealing with the registration, infringement and other related issues of Patent. IP professionals can advise you on the procedures and assist you with patent registration. Contact immediately for expert assistance. 


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